2020 News Releases

October 23, 2020

Virginia Department of Health Announces New Outbreaks in Educational Settings Dashboard 

RICHMOND, VA — The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) COVID-19 data website now includes an outbreaks in educational settings dashboard which shows a line list of outbreaks in Kindergarten-12th Grade Schools by school name with associated case numbers and deaths. It shows current and previous outbreaks of COVID-19 in specific schools in Virginia. The dashboard will help schools measure the extent to which the COVID-19 virus is spreading in their localities and guide possible responses to mitigate that spread. more>>


October 22, 2020

Virginia Department of Health Website Scheduled to be Offline Saturday, October 31 for Routine Maintenance

RICHMOND, VA – The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) will be conducting routine maintenance to the VDH external website (www.vdh.virginia.gov) on Saturday, October 31, 2020 between the hours of 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM.  more>>


October 22, 2020

VIRGINIA CELEBRATES FARM TO CACFP WEEK
Activities Encourage Increased Awareness of Virginia Agriculture

(Richmond, VA) – Food is a foundation of living well, which is more important now than ever. This year, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) will recognize Virginia Farm to Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Week October 18 through 24, with virtual activities throughout the Commonwealth. Farm to CACFP connects participants to nutrition education, Virginia grown foods, and gardening opportunities. Through these activities, CACFP participants will learn about Virginia agriculture while building knowledge of and interest in healthy foods. more>>


October 15, 2020

Harmful Algae Bloom Advisory lifted for Middle Pamunkey Branch of Lake Anna; No advisories currently in place for Lake Anna in Orange, Louisa and Spotsylvania Counties

(Richmond, Va.) – The advisory has been lifted for the Middle Pamunkey Branch of Lake Anna in Orange, Louisa and Spotsylvania. Algae blooms can occur when warm water and nutrients combine to make conditions favorable for algae growth. Most algae species are harmless, however some species may produce irritating compounds or toxins. Monitoring in response to algae blooms is set to resume on Lake Anna in May 2021. more>>


October 13, 2020

VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH ISSUES FISH CONSUMPTION ADVISORY FOR UPPER JAMES RIVER 

(RICHMOND, Va.) – The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has issued an advisory on carp consumption due to elevated polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in carp caught in the Upper James River.

Recent fish tissue sample results from the Upper James River in 2018 and 2019 show PCBs levels in carp exceed the amount considered safe for long-term human consumption. more>>


September 28, 2020

Virginia Department of Health Announces New Pandemic Metrics Dashboard

RICHMOND, VA — Today, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) launched a new Pandemic Metrics Dashboard, which shows a visualization of COVID-19 community transmission by region. Updated weekly, this dashboard will show: data trends for COVID-19 in specific communities; where the COVID-19 virus is spreading; and assist local and state governments in determining additional mitigation measures. more>>


September 23, 2020

Harmful Algae Bloom Advisory Remains in place for Middle Pamunkey Branch of Lake Anna; Advisory lifted for Upper North Anna Branch – In Orange, Louisa and Spotsylvania Counties
Public Advised to Avoid Water Contact within Locations of the Lake 

(Richmond, Va.) –The Middle Pamunkey Branch of Lake Anna in Orange, Louisa and Spotsylvania counties continues to experience a harmful algae bloom (HAB). The public is advised to avoid contact with the lake in this area until algae concentrations return to acceptable levels. Some harmful algae, called cyanobacteria, can cause skin rash and gastrointestinal illnesses, such as upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The areas to avoid can be seen on an interactive map at www.SwimHealthyVA.com. more>>


September 18, 2020

Virginia Department of Health Confirms First Age 10 – 19 Fatality Due to COVID-19 

RICHMOND, VA — Today, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced that an adolescent resident in the Southside Health District who tested positive for COVID-19 has died. This is the first reported COVID-19 death of a child in the Commonwealth. VDH will disclose no further information about the teenager to protect privacy and out of respect for the patient’s family. more>>


September 18, 2020

VDH Announces Results of COVID-19 Serology Study
Roughly 2.4% of Adults Had Prior COVID-19 infection with Rates Higher among Hispanic Population

(Richmond, Va.) — Today, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced the results of its Coronavirus Serology Project that was conducted during summer of 2020.  An estimated 2.4% of adult Virginians have antibody test evidence of a prior COVID-19 infection. The presence of COVID-19 antibodies was highest in Hispanic individuals (10.2%), residents of the Northern region (4.4%), and among those uninsured or insured through Medicaid (3.8%). Statewide, Hispanic ethnicity, residence in an apartment building or other multi-family housing unit, and reported contact with a COVID-19 case significantly increased the risk of having a positive antibody test. The project’s findings will help Virginia address the COVID-19 pandemic by understanding risk factors and giving the public health system and hospitals information to plan for future health care needs. more>>


September 15, 2020

Harmful Algae Bloom Causes Fish Kill in Indian Creek/Hampton Flats in the City of Hampton
— May impact lower James and York Rivers, Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean —

 (Richmond, Va.) – An ongoing harmful algae bloom of Alexandrium monilatum is believed to have caused a fish kill in Indian Creek in the City of Hampton. The City of Hampton and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality investigated the fish kill that was reported over the weekend of September 12 and 13. more>>


September 8, 2020

Harmful Algae Bloom Advisory Remains in place for Middle Pamunkey and Upper North Anna Branches of Lake Anna; Advisories lifted for Upper Pamunkey Branch and Terry’s Run –
In Orange, Louisa and Spotsylvania Counties
Public Advised to Avoid Water Contact within Locations of the Lake

(Richmond, Va.) –The Middle Pamunkey and the Upper North Anna Branch of Lake Anna in Orange, Louisa and Spotsylvania counties continue to experience a harmful algae bloom (HAB). The public is advised to avoid contact with the lake in these areas until algae concentrations return to acceptable levels. Some harmful algae, called cyanobacteria, can cause skin rash and gastrointestinal illnesses, such as upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The areas to avoid can be seen on an interactive map at www.SwimHealthyVA.com. more>>


August 18, 2020

Harmful Algae Bloom Advisory Issued for Middle Pamunkey River; Upper Pamunkey (including
Terry’s Run) and Upper North Anna Branches Advisories Remain in Place – Lake Anna In Orange, Louisa and Spotsylvania Counties
Public Advised to Avoid Water Contact within Locations of the Lake

(Richmond, Va.) –The Middle Pamunkey Branch of Lake Anna, now in addition to the Upper Pamunkey Branch, Terry’s Run, and the Upper North Anna Branch of Lake Anna in Orange, Louisa and Spotsylvania counties are experiencing a harmful algae bloom (HAB). The public is advised to avoid contact with the lake in these areas until algae concentrations return to acceptable levels. Some harmful algae, called cyanobacteria, can cause skin rash and gastrointestinal illnesses, such as upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The areas to avoid can be seen on an interactive map at www.SwimHealthyVA.com. more>>


July 22, 2020

Virginia Department of Health Enhances COVID-19 Data Reporting
New Portal Provides Access to Datasets and Includes Historical Data 

(Richmond, Va.) — The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) began reporting all currently available COVID-19 datasets — including the addition of historical data — through the Virginia Open Data Portal. The portal serves to extend access to VDH data that allows the public to interpret and analyze data. Located under the Data Download section of the COVID-19 in Virginia webpage, the portal provides datasets for public use and download. Step-by-step instructions about how to navigate the pages and download the datasets are also provided by clicking on the Data Download button. more>>


July 22, 2020

Harmful Algae Bloom Advisory Issued for Upper Pamunkey (including Terry’s Run) as well as Upper North Anna Branches – Lake Anna In Orange, Louisa and Spotsylvania Counties
Public Advised to Avoid Water Contact within Locations of the Lake 

(Richmond, Va.) – The Upper Pamunkey Branch, Terry’s Run, and the Upper North Anna Branch of Lake Anna in Orange, Louisa and Spotsylvania counties are experiencing a harmful algae bloom (HAB). The public is advised to avoid contact with the lake in these areas until algae concentrations return to acceptable levels. Some harmful algae, called cyanobacteria, can cause skin rash and gastrointestinal illnesses, such as upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The areas to avoid can be seen on an interactive map at www.SwimHealthyVA.com. more>>


July 15, 2020

Virginia Department of Health, University of Virginia Partner to Collect COVID-19 Health Data
“iTHRIV Health Status Registry” Will Support Clinical Research 

(Richmond, Va.) — The Integrated Translational Health Institute of Virginia (iTHRIV), in close collaboration with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has developed an online tool to collect COVID-19 related information from volunteers who are residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The iTHRIV research team is led by Don Brown and Johanna Loomba at the University of Virginia (UVA) with guidance provided by a cross-state group of advisors. more>>


July 14, 2020

Virginia Department of Health Expands COVID-19 Regional Data Reporting
Previously Only Statewide and Northern Region Key Measures Were Available

(Richmond, Va.) — Today, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) began providing the COVID-19 Key Measures for additional regions across the state: Central, Eastern, Northwest and Southwest. Previously, VDH only provided statewide and Northern Region key measures; data is now provided for all regions in the state. The new regional dashboards are available on the Key Measures webpage. more>>


July 10, 2020

Virginia Department of Health to Add COVID-19 Contact Tracing Data

(Richmond, Va.) — Today, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) began reporting information related to efforts to notify people who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Information related to notification efforts — referred to as contact tracing — is available on the COVID-19 Data Insights webpage, located at https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/covid-19-data-insights/. The state-level data will be updated weekly on Fridays. more>>


June 29, 2020

Virginia Department of Health Urges Virginians to Engage with Legitimate Contact Tracers, Avoid Scams
Contact Tracers Will Not Ask for Social Security Numbers or Bank Details

 (Richmond, Va.) — The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) encourages all Virginians to respond and engage with legitimate contact tracing calls and emails while remaining vigilant against scams. Caller ID will read “VDH COVID Team.” more>>


June 15, 2020

VDH Office of Vital Records to Reopen Walk-In Customer Service Lobby, Expand Hours
Henrico Lobby Reopening with COVID-19 Precautions on June 17th

(Richmond, Va.) — To provide the public with same-day services, the VDH Office of Vital Records (OVR) will reopen its customer service lobby with expanded weekday hours starting June 17. The lobby is located at 2001 Maywill Street Richmond, VA 23230. more>>


June 15, 2020

Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 Dashboard to Include More Detailed Race and Ethnicity Data Starting Today 

(Richmond, Va.) — The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) will change how race and ethnicity data are presented, beginning today. This update will provide a more detailed look at the effects of COVID-19 on minority populations across Virginia. VDH will combine race and ethnicity information into one category and will expand the number of racial identities from three to seven. more>>


June 12, 2020

The Virginia Department of Health’s June 12 Data to Show a Sharp Increase in PCR Tests
New Numbers will Reflect Roughly 43,000 PCR Tests

(Richmond, Va.) — Today, COVID-19 diagnostic testing data reported by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) will reflect a sharp increase in PCR SARS-CoV-2 tests completed in Virginia.  Today’s testing report includes 43,000 PCR tests.  Two laboratories began electronic reporting to VDH this week, allowing a backlog of negative tests to be included in today’s testing report.  more>>


June 8, 2020

Statement Regarding Upcoming Increase in COVID-19 Testing Data for June 9 

(Richmond, Va.) — Starting on June 9, the Virginia Department of Health’s (VDH) COVID-19 data dashboard will reflect 13,000 additional tests that were backlogged. Over the next couple of days, this new information will be slowly added to the current data, which will result in an influx of results. more>>


June 4, 2020

Virginia Department of Health Shares Information on Publicly Available COVID-19 Tests

(Richmond, Va.) — The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) wants to ensure all Virginians, including those participating in ongoing protests, know how to access publicly-available COVID-19 tests. The nature of large protests means the virus may spread more easily there, especially if protesters are not wearing masks. VDH has communicated with Local Health Districts where protests have occurred. We are encouraging those districts to share information with protesters about community testing events and pharmacy locations where COVID-19 tests are available. more>>


May 30, 2020

Beach Monitoring Program Updates Status of Testing the Waters as More Beaches Open to the Public 

(Richmond, Va.)— The Virginia Coastal Beach Monitoring and Notification Program normally conducts weekly beach water samples mid-May through September, at 45 sites. When beach samples indicate an unsafe level of bacteria, the health department issues beach advisories to let the public know when there is a higher risk of waterborne illness. more>>


May 29, 2020

Virginia Department of Health Revises Method of Reporting Test Data
Updated Information Available Beginning May 30 

(Richmond, Va.) — To provide more accurate information about COVID-19 testing at the community level, Saturday the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) will begin reporting COVID-19 data on testing encounters by health district using more accurate ZIP Code information. The new data will impact 37,362 test results that were previously not assigned a health district designation because incomplete patient address information was reported to VDH. more>>


May 20, 2020

EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES WEEK IN VIRGINIA RECOGNIZES THE STEADFAST RESOLVE AND PERSEVERANCE OF VIRGINIA’S EMS PROVIDERS IN TIMES OF CRISIS
May 17 – 23 is National EMS Week

(RICHMOND, Va.) – When Virginians make the call for help, they rely on Emergency Medical Services (EMS) providers to respond quickly and to supply the best emergency prehospital care possible. During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, EMS providers delivering emergent care, while protecting the health and safety of their patients and themselves, is especially important. Last year, EMS providers responded to more than 1.66 million calls for help in Virginia, representing more than 4,500 incidents per day. more>>


May 19, 2020

First Virginia Case of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children Associated with COVID-19 Reported

(Richmond, Va.) —The Fairfax Health District has confirmed a case of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19. This is the first case of MIS-C reported in Virginia. The child was hospitalized on May 5 and has since been discharged and is recovering at home. To protect privacy, no other patient information will be disclosed. more>>


May 14, 2020

Health Commissioner Announces 2020 Public Health Nurse of the Year
Annual award ceremony commemorates tribute to nurses

(Newport News, Va.)— State Health Commissioner Dr. M. Norman Oliver today presented the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) 2020 Public Health Nurse of the Year award to Amber Harmon, who is a Senior Public Health Nurse in the Communicable Disease Department at the Peninsula Health District. Harmon’s dedication, leadership, and her outreach to educate, volunteer and support the mission of public health has led to her recognition as the Virginia 2020 Public Health Nurse of the Year. more>>


May 14, 2020

Virginia Department of Health Releases Disaggregated Testing Data; No Differences in Trends

(RICHMOND, Va.) — The Virginia Department of Health today released testing data broken out by PCR (diagnostic) and antibody (serology) tests. Antibody tests make up less than nine percent of overall tests. When these tests are removed from total results, there is minimal change in the percent positive of tests and no difference in overall trends. more>>


May 1, 2020

Virginia Department of Health – Beach Monitoring Status Updates during COVID-19 Pandemic

(Richmond, Va.)— The Virginia Coastal Beach Monitoring and Notification Program normally conducts weekly beach water samples mid-May through September, at 45 sites. When beach samples indicate an unsafe level of bacteria, the health department issues beach advisories to let the public know when there is a higher risk of waterborne illness.

Local Health Districts who conduct this monitoring have evaluated their resources and determined whether monitoring could be conducted safely by their staff during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. more>>


April 27, 2020

Virginia Department of Health Launches New “COVID-19 & You” Web Page Tool

(RICHMOND, Virginia) – The Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 web page has added a new consumer education and information topics toolbar that offers website visitors a more interactive and personalized experience.“This COVID-19 & You tool serves to answer questions for the public regarding health concerns and issues by providing interactive experiences,” said Suresh Soundararajan, VDH chief information officer. “The intent is to make the user experience better and more targeted for people looking for information regarding COVID-19.” more>>


April 22, 2020

COVID-19 Information Sharing Between Long-term Care Facilities (LTCF) and Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF)

On Tuesday, April 21, Dr. Norman Oliver, Virginia State Health Commissioner,  announced that Long-term Care Facilities (LTCFs) and Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) in neighboring areas can share information on positive COVID-19 cases.  This information includes case identification and contact investigation efforts. more>>


March 14, 2020

Commonwealth of Virginia Reports First COVID-19 Death in the Peninsula Health District

(Richmond, Va.)  — Today, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Peninsula Health District reported the death of a hospitalized patient who previously tested positive for COVID-19.  This event marks the first death in the Commonwealth of Virginia due to COVID-19. more>>


March 9, 2020

Virginia Department of Health Confirms Fourth and Fifth “Presumptive Positive” Cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Fairfax and in Spotsylvania County, Virginia

(Richmond, VA.) – The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced that two Virginia residents in two different parts of the state have tested “presumptive positive” for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). These cases mark the fourth and fifth presumptive positive test results in the Commonwealth of Virginia. more>>


March 9, 2020

Virginia Department of Health Confirms Third “Presumptive Positive” Case of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in State

(Richmond, VA.) – The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced that an Arlington County resident has tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).  VDH and the Arlington County Public Health Division (ACPHD) are working together to identify any close contacts of this resident who would require testing or monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19.  This is the third presumptive positive result, with the other two being a Marine Base Quantico resident and Fairfax City resident.  All three cases were exposed through international travel. more>>


March 8, 2020

Virginia Department of Health Confirms Second “Presumptive Positive” Case of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in State 

(Richmond, Va.) – The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced that a Fairfax Health District resident has tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). VDH and Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD) are working together to identify any close contacts of this resident who would require testing or monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19. This is the second presumptive positive result with the other being in a Marine Base Quantico resident at Fort Belvoir Hospital who tested positive yesterday. Both cases were exposed through international travel. more>>


March 8, 2020

STATUS UPDATE ON TWO PRESUMPTIVE POSITIVE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS CASES IN VIRGINIA

(RICHMOND, VA.) – Press conference with Virginia’s state and local public health leaders on the first presumptive positive case of a Marine Base Corps Quantico resident who is at Fort Belvoir and to announce a second presumptive positive case.  The second individual is a resident of the City of Fairfax in their 80s who traveled on a similar Nile River cruise as other positive coronavirus (COVID-19) patients. more>>


March 7, 2020

First Virginia Case of COVID-19 Confirmed at Fort Belvoir

(RICHMOND, VA.) – A U.S. Marine at Fort Belvoir has tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, Virginia health officials confirmed today.

Governor Northam and Cabinet officials have been briefed. Officials at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital and the Virginia Department of Health are working cooperatively, according to longstanding public health protocols. The teams are in regular and close communication with federal, state, local, and private sector partners. more>>


February 20, 2020

VDH Office of Vital Records Appoints New Director and Modernizes Operations
Call Center, Application Processing, Website and Office Hours have been updated

(RICHMOND, VA.) – The Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Vital Records has undertaken multiple initiatives to improve customer service. “One of the ways we’re improving customer service is by modernizing the Office of Vital Records,” said Mona Bector, deputy commissioner for administration at the Virginia Department of Health. Ms. Bector stated, “To adequately serve the needs of customers we have added capacity to our call center, provided online application status updates, and are in the process of introducing online application submissions. We are creating transparency and providing relevant information through an updated website.”more>>


February 11, 2020

Health Officials Report Virginia’s First Pediatric Flu Death of the 2019–20 Season

(RICHMOND, Va.) – The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reports the state’s first influenza-associated pediatric death for the 2019-20 flu season. A teenager (13-17 years old) in Virginia’s Northern region has died from complications associated with influenza. To protect the family’s privacy, VDH will not provide any further information regarding this death. more>>


January 31, 2020

VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH CLOSES AREA TO SHELLFISH HARVESTING

 (RICHMOND, Va.)— The Virginia Department of Health announced today that shellfish-harvesting waters near west of Allen’s Island in the York River in Gloucester County are closed to the harvest of oysters and clams effective January 31, 2020.  This closure is the result of notification of reports of oyster-associated norovirus illness with an epidemiological link to shellfish harvested from this area. This closure is for 21 days. more>>


January 27, 2020

UPDATE: Virginia Department of Health Announces Two Patients Under Investigation Test Negative for Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

(Richmond, Va.) – The Virginia Department of Health has received test results for the two Patients Under Investigation (PUIs) for Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the Central Region of Virginia. The results from testing performed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were negative, indicating that the two individuals do not have the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection. Test results for a Patient Under Investigation in the Northern Region of Virginia are expected to be received later this week. At this time, Virginia continues to have no confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus 2019-nCoV. more>>


January 26, 2020

Virginia Department of Health Announces Preparations and Activities Related to the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Outbreak

(Richmond, Va.) – The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and local health officials statewide are monitoring developments surrounding the respiratory outbreak first detected in Wuhan, China caused by a new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). This is a rapidly evolving situation. To provide the latest local information and updates to Virginians, VDH has developed a novel coronavirus webpage. This webpage provides important information about the outbreak and offers resources for healthcare providers. more>>


January 24, 2020

VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH CLOSES AREA TO SHELLFISH HARVESTING

(RICHMOND, Va.) — The Virginia Department of Health announced today that shellfish-harvesting waters near Allens Island in the York River in Gloucester County are closed to the harvest of oysters and clams effective January 24, 2020.  This closure is the result of notification of a Norovirus Outbreak in Central Virginia with an epidemiological link to shellfish harvested from this area. This closure is for 21 days. more>>